Rowan Buys 44 Steinway pianos; becomes "All-Steinway School"

Rowan Buys 44 Steinway pianos; becomes "All-Steinway School"

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Rowan University has joined the pantheon of great music schools, from Juilliard in New York to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, with its designation as an All-Steinway School.

The designation - one shared by only about 100 colleges, universities and conservatories around the world - was bestowed just prior to the delivery September 4 of 11 Steinway grand pianos to the College of Fine and Performing Arts. The shipment was the second of three scheduled deliveries for a total of 44 Steinways - 17 grands and 27 uprights.

"To teach piano on anything less than a Steinway is less than what we aspire to do," said Rowan University President Donald J. Farish during a brief morning celebration on the stage of Pfleeger Concert Hall. "The point here is to create the opportunity for students and faculty to play on the finest instruments we can provide."

Legendary for rich tonal quality, warmth, articulation and durability, the new Steinways include a mix of models - from practice room uprights to baby and concert grands - on which Rowan students will play for decades to come.

Their delivery heralds a new chapter for the Department of Music, a branch of the University long known for producing world-class performers and teachers.

Professor of Music Veda Zuponcic, an internationally celebrated pianist who has attracted students from as far as South America, the former Soviet Union and Europe, said the new collection elevates Rowan's profile both at home and abroad.

"A great education starts with great equipment," Prof. Zuponcic said. "Steinway is (among) the most recognizable brand name(s) in the world. This gives us national visibility."

She said the new Steinways join about 10 older models on campus and that, for the first time since she joined the faculty in the 1970s, Rowan students play on nothing but Steinways.

Justine Korkor, a senior piano performance major from Moorestown, said she was thrilled with the University's decision to purchase the new Steinways.

"They're wonderful, with a beautiful sound," she said. "Steinways are the highest quality instrument and you're going to work harder with them. You want your playing to match them."

Jon Robert Cart, Dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts, said the new pianos are, indeed, an investment for decades to come.

"There is a quality and a color of sound with the Steinways that you wouldn't have with anything else," he said. "And the great thing is they're going to last 40 or 50 years."

Rowan acquired the new Steinways through Jacobs Music, a Philadelphia retailer that is funding a $500/year scholarship for high academic achievement and outstanding pianistic ability for the next ten years.

Mark Love, senior vice president of Jacobs Music, said the purchase of the new pianos isn't just an investment in Rowan's students - it's an investment in and of itself.

After 40 years, he said, Rowan can sell the used piano shells back to the Astoria, N.Y. manufacturer for more than they paid for the pianos today.

"It's better than real estate," he said, "really the best type of investment."